Coffee Is Social™

Young Agrarians: Who They Are and Why They’re Important

• By saltspringcoffee • Sustainability

For those who are familiar with the Salt Spring Coffee story, it comes as no surprise that organic farming is part of our company’s roots and everyday culture. Our co-founders Mickey McLeod and Robbyn Scott started out as organic farmers with their own market garden on Salt Spring Island, and as part of our 1% For the Planet membership, we partner with a range of non-profit organizations whose mandate is to revolutionize our food system. One such organization is Young Agrarians.

Young Agrarians is made up of agriculturalists, farmers (both urban and rural), market and community gardeners, community groups and academics, all committed to transforming our food economy, promoting agriculture, sustainability and building community.

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Young Agrarians is also a partner of Farm Folk City Folk, another non-profit organization that also seeks to build a sustainable and local food system. Over the years, through our membership in 1% For the Planet, Salt Spring Coffee has been involved in the events that these two organizations host, including potlucks and most recently, the Feast of Fields festival.

Why are organizations like Young Agrarians important?

  • Canada’s farming population is shrinking, reaching a historic low in 2006, according to Statistics Canada figures. While 1 in 3 (33%) Canadians used to live on a farm in 1931, that number plummeted to one in 46 (less than 2%).
  • In British Columbia, more than 50% of farmers are aged 59 and up. Less than 5% of farmers are aged 34 and younger.
  • 1 in every 2 farmers under 55 report that off-farm employment is their main source of income.

Young Agrarians thrives because of community participation and contributions, and there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved. Along with hosting regular open-to-the-public potlucks and tours of different farms, and providing ways for the community to share their skills together during “weed dates“, Young Agrarians is also looking for collaborators. Participating can range from blog contributions to social media sharing, potluck hosting and more.

Young Agrarians is also working with three community partners to develop a “Land Linking” event series in three rural BC communities in November 2013, which include workshops, potlucks and more.

For more statistics on the current farming landscape in Canada, visit the Young Agrarians website, or the 1% for the Planet website for more detail on this program. To learn more about Salt Spring Coffee’s 1% For the Planet participation in the past, visit:

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